What does Paul say? “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV).
It was clearly a call to put people above projects. It was a call to put love above accomplishments. It was a call to put schemes in a proper place, outside of the realm of what God intends the church to be.
It wasn’t a call to growth; it was a call to love. It wasn’t a call just to do ministry work; it was a call to realize that the greatest ministry work of all is to love one another and to love those who are lost and without Jesus. It’s not going to be cold-hearted or a just going through the steps type of discipleship. It’s going to be a fire of passion in your heart. It’s going to be the zeal in a heart that has that fire for God.
It’s not going to be ambition. It’s not going to be pressure. It’s going to be Jesus Christ loving you so richly that that love permeates your whole heart and begins to be poured out to other people. These things are the mark of true faith, as Paul wrote to Timothy. “I am reminded of your sincere faith” (2 Timothy 1:5). Our word ‘sincere’ comes from two different Greek words.
One is a word they used in theatre; play acting, putting on a show. The original word for ‘hypocrite’ was someone who was acting out a role.
The second Greek word in front of it which means ‘none,’ in other words, not an actor. Not putting on a performance. Not trying to look like a disciple but actually being a disciple. Not trying to look religious but actually being spirit-filled. Not trying to do good deeds so others might see them.
If we are actually walking in faith, we will be sincerely loving.